From welcoming the Sabbath in the slums of south Tel Aviv today to helping win the Oscar, school principal Karen Tal is on top of the world.
Her school brings together Jews, Muslims and Christians from 48 countries, many of them children of migrant workers. It’s the subject of “Strangers No More” which won best short documentary.
Many of her pupils are refugees.
“Almost every student is running away from something,” Tal says.
One of the film’s stars is 12-years-old Esther Aikpeha from South Africa. Her mother was murdered and her father’s life was threatened.
“I don’t have any other place to go to.
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The film ends beautifully. But in real life, not every story has a happy ending.
Of the 833 students here, about 120 face deportation. They’re illegal immigrants, and one of them is Esther.
Hundreds of Israelis rallied to stop the refugee children from being deported. The law says children in Israel for more than five years can stay; Esther’s been here four.
“If they step an inch in this house and say they will deport me they will see a lot of trouble,” Esther said.
Israel – a safe haven for some, but not for all.
And Esther is still hoping for her Hollywood ending.